A negative pressure room is a space used by health institutions to isolate patients with contagious illnesses away from other patients. Ideally, it is also used to separate the more susceptible patients to diseases like patients on Chemotherapy. In a negative pressure room, the air gets pulled in, circulated, and then filtered before leaving the room so as not to infect other people. This room’s atmosphere is kept under lower pressure than a positive pressure room, where the air is kept at a higher pressure. When leaving the room, the patients are required to thoroughly wash and disinfect their hands to avoid spreading the infection.
The negative pressure rooms need to have enough space so that the patients do not feel claustrophobic. The rooms can also be mobile; these can be transported to infection areas at a moment’s notice. The mobile units have proved to be very useful, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients with an illness like Tuberculosis may be required to wear a mask when leaving the room. The patients in the negative pressure room can have visitors wearing protective clothing. They also need to disinfect when leaving the area.
Lower Rate of Infection
Negative pressure rooms lower the infection rates in hospitals because patients with infectious diseases are kept separate from the rest of them. The rooms protect not only the patients but also the hospital staff attending to them.
The isolation rooms can also be used as a protection area for those patients with compromised immune systems. Ensuring the air in the room is filtered, the patient is protected from bacteria or viruses at the health facility. They also protect the staff at the hospital and visitors from contracting any disease.
Laboratories, especially those that deal with research of diseases, use such rooms to ensure that no contamination occurs from their facilities. It is done by ensuring the labs are in negative pressure rooms and the staff disinfect whenever they leave the labs to avoid spreading any infection.
Though the cost of maintaining a negative pressure room may seem high, the alternative to having a contagious situation is even higher. If an institution gets an outbreak of a disease, the cost implications would be substantial. The institution would have to spend a lot of money to eradicate the disease from its facility and treat patients and may face lawsuits.
The rooms have now become much more than what they were initially intended for. They are now even used to give grieving family members a chance to say goodbye to their loved ones physically. Dr. Mary Clark came up with the idea to have a negative pressure room in veteran hospice to give families closure with their loved ones.
It has made her very popular with families of veterans who would not have had a chance to spend time with them before they died. They can also use the rooms to give closure to families with patients suffering from contagious illnesses.
Negative pressure rooms can be used for the control of infections, especially when newly discovered. For example, a patient who just contracted COVID-19 can be put in the room to control the virus’s immediate spread. For instance, in contagious situations, exposure to a toxic material, health facilities can put the people exposed in the room to limit further exposure.
Negative Pressure rooms have never been more important in health facilities. Their importance has been made abundantly clear by the recent outbreak of COVID-19. Health facilities need to ensure that the rooms have all the required equipment to ensure they work as they should.